Stephanie Doll: The sense I get from people is that the Leighton Centre means so much to the community and it means so much to the people even who were here at the very beginning. So, from 1975, 1972.
Stephanie Doll: We still get people walking through the door and they’re so excited about what the place is like and they feel like Barbara would be really proud about how it looks and what we’re doing. And they feel like we’re doing what Barbara set out to do.
Stephanie Doll: I feel really proud about that.
Sabine Lecorre-Moore: My name is Sabine Lecorre-Moore. I’m a visual artist from Calgary. I’ve been living in Calgary for about 30 years. I’m originally from France.
Patricia Lortie: Patricia Lortie, I’m also a visual artist from Calgary. And I’ve been here 25 years.
Sabine Lecorre-Moore: The Leighton Centre is a centre that’s been around for 45 years and everybody knows it. So, when you’re a painter, you automatically want to be a member.
Patricia Lortie: Yeah, you do, as an artist, you feel like you’re part of the family right away, just almost instant.
Stephanie Doll: You get the sense when people walk through the doors, they’re always like, “Oh my god I can’t believe that this place actually exists. I can’t believe this exists, you know, 20 minutes from my doorstep. I can’t believe this exists just outside of Calgary and where it is.” And not only is the property beautiful, but the house is beautiful, the programming is engaging and important.
Melissa Cole: The museum collection itself is kind of a time capsule of Alberta art history. Alberta artists aren’t necessarily recognized nationally, but if you go downstairs into the collection room, Barbara had works by some of the biggest name artists in Alberta.
Barbara Ballachey: She has fostered a lot of people working, learning about it, and meeting the challenges and the joys, and I think that richness is really what motivated her.
Robert Ollerenshaw: Getting out of your comfort zone in the city, but coming out here being yourself, being comfortable, meeting other people who have the same interests and everything else, you develop a community.
Barbara Ballachey: There’s kind of a bias that you have to be in the big city or the big centre or part “the” whatever, and you know, that can be stimulating and exciting, and that’s where some people belong, but it’s not the only place that people become creative.
Stephanie Doll: And we’re actually so lucky to have a heritage home like this, that we get to be the stewards of. And not just us, but obviously the community. I get the sense that the whole community feels responsible for this place. We always get a sense that when Barbara’s happy with where we’re going and we also get a sense when Barbara’s not so happy with where things are going, so we kinda use that to gauge like, “Is this something Barbara would have wanted?” When I became E.D. that was the first thing we did.
Was just like, ok, like, cheers to Barbara every day and let’s see if we can do what she wanted, so. That’s super important to all of us.